Super Panoramic photos

Chris Lane / photography, process / / 2 Comments / Like this

This week I have on display a couple super panoramic photographs that I recently finished. These are both available as fine art prints. (available with the 11% off discount until the end of July 2010)

The Photos:

River Pan
This shot is a combined 10 photos and at full print size is over 5.5 feet wide.
Click here or the picture to see a larger size.
River Pan © Chris Lane Photo

Cloud Panorama
This shot is a combined 16 photos and at full print size is over 13.5 feet wide.
Click here or the picture to see a larger size.
Cloud Panorama © Chris Lane Photo

The Method

The way I take these is through multiple exposures as I swing my camera (on a tripod) to the side. I don’t just sweep and hold the shutter release though, I move the camera a certain amount and take the next shot. They are then stitched together using Photoshop’s stitching tool (one of the options under the move tool. You can see where in my video on Photoshop’s move tool here. This never ends up perfect, however, and I must do some manual manipulation. This almost always means cleaning up the seams to some degree. Each individual image will generally be darker on the edges than in the center, so once the panorama is stitched, you can see some zebra striping to indicate the separate images. This can sometimes be fixed by masking the overlaying photo or using the dodge tool to lighten it. The stitch tool sometimes will auto-warp the image, depending on the setting you choose, and that will at times need to be fixed using the free transform tool. The warp function in that can be accessed by right clicking within the free transform selection.

Almost inevitably there will be an uneven edge at the top and bottom of the entire image. This is caused by overlapping of the photos and them not lining up exactly. This can either be cropped out or manually fixed. Cropping is obviously the easy way of getting past it, but can sometimes drastically reduce the height of the image. I usually do a combination of the two, by cropping in a little ways and then healing and stamping in the rest of the white space. Now if you have Photoshop CS5, you could simply select the white area and use the magic button err… the content aware fill tool.

That pretty much sums up the process. I might have to do a time-lapse video or a retouching animation for one of these at some point. The problem with working on photos this large is the massive resource drain it creates on the computer. Everything starts slowing way down and some computers wouldn’t even be able to handle it.

I’m curious as to what you think. Leave any comments below.

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© This article is copyright of Chris Lane Photo and should not be found elsewhere.